He lasted 20 seconds. When he came up to the plate to exchange starting lineups with the other manager he looked up at me—Earl is 5'7" and I'm 6'4"—and cracked, "How 'bout it, Luciano, you gonna be as bad tonight as you've been the first three games?"
I gave him the only possible answer. "Earl," I said, "you're never gonna find out." I got him 4 for 4, at least tying a record, and our relationship went downhill from there.
Weaver and I spent the 1967 season in Triple-A, and our relationship continued to develop. That was the year he stole second base on me, another managerial first. I made a call at second that got him so mad he ran onto the field, picked up second base and took it with him back into the dugout. He refused to give it back to me.
I asked the groundkeeper for a replacement, but he told me he was all out of second bases.
"C'mon," I told Earl, "you gotta give me back the base. We can't play baseball without the bases." The logic didn't move him, so I warned him if he didn't give it back to me I'd forfeit the game.
"Ronnie," he told me, "you'll never forfeit a game in the minors because if you do you'll never make it to the majors. If they see you can't handle games down here, they'll never bring you up."
I was livid. He had discovered my weak point. Nothing infuriated me more than hearing Earl Weaver make sense. Eventually I negotiated a loan of his second base and we finished the game.
Only twice in my career did I actually throw a manager out of the game before it started. The first was that time I got Earl in the minor leagues. The second time I got him in the major leagues.
The afternoon I ejected him in the major leagues marked a personal high for me. We were playing a doubleheader in Baltimore, and I got him both games. I was at first base for the first game. He came out in a late inning to argue a call and I started laughing, because I knew I was going to get him. "That's the trouble with you," he started screaming at me. "You don't take anything seriously; all you care about is throwing your arms in the air and jumping around." As he yelled that, he threw his arms in the air in an extremely poor Luciano imitation.
"You can't throw your arms in the air," I screamed right back at him. "You're not an umpire." Then I gave him the thumb.